This year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which began on 25th November, has ended today, December 10, 2023.
Sixteen Days of Activism is an annual campaign that seeks to raise awareness, reduce, prevent and find ways of eradicating violence against women and girls across the globe.
The 2023 theme was “UNITE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls”.
Campaigners in the Bono region have used the opportunity to call for an end to all forms of violence, including domestic abuse, sexual assault, rape, early and forced marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and harassment crimes against women and girls.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women globally have suffered physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime.
Per the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), almost 24.4% of women aged 15-49 years have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their lives.
The GSS also found about 19.2 per cent of ever-partnered women aged 15-49 years have experienced intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence and 19.3 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 years were first married or in union before their 18th birthday.
In the last 16 days, campaigners have expressed their deepest worries about the shocking wave of uncounted number of violence incidents against women and girls that are happening within Ghana.
The Young Urban Women’s Movement (YUMW), a group of young women and a subsidiary of ActionAid Ghana led many of the local campaigns aiming to sensitized women and girls on reporting all forms of violence against them.
Bono regional Chairperson of YUMW, Kubra Yakubu said incidence of violence against women in the informal sector in the region are on the rise.
“The rate of gender-based violence is very rampant. When you go to our informal working spaces, there are a lot of women that are been abused. In terms of wages and other things that happen in the workplace,’’ she said.
According to her, no community should supervise harmful acts against women and girls to go unpunished. She urged victims and communities to hold perpetrators to account.
“We should not overlook issues of gender-based violence. Let’s not take it to the community level alone. Let’s get it clear that violence is abused to people’s right so when things like that happens, we should not limit it to visiting the chief palace. Abusers should be allowed to face the law,’’ Kubra added.
Women and girls have suffered worst forms of abusive conduct including physical and psychological abuse.
According to the Bono regional Director for the Department of Gender, Jocelyn Adii, encouraged women who experience abuse does not suffer in silence but to report all incidents to her department or the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) unit of the Ghana Police Service for further action.
Madam Jocelyn also urged parents to invest in the education and skill development of their children to enable them avoid factors that will predispose them to sexual abuse.
“Young women and girls should get something doing to generate income for themselves’’.
“When they [women and girls] are empowered economically, it will reduce their vulnerability to sexual abuse to some extent, they will not fall prey to people who will abuse them sexual’’ she said.
As the 2030 deadline draws near for countries to achieve gender equality (Goal 5), in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), activists against gender-based violence are amplifying their voices for greater investment to help reduce, counter and eliminate gender-based violence to make the world safer for women and girls to live in.